Belfast Telegraph

Night of violence in Londonderry condemned after PSNI officers attacked with petrol bombs

By Mark Edwards

PSNI officers came under attack with petrol bombs, bricks and bottles during violent disorder in Londonderry.

The disorder occurred in the area of the Fountain estate interface and Nailor's Row.

Shortly before 10pm on Saturday three petrol bombs were thrown into the Fountain with one of these igniting and two seized intact.

Police who were deployed to prevent further disorder were then attacked by people who threw more than 30 petrol bombs and missiles at officers.

Bricks and bottles were also thrown at property in the area causing damage and putting lives at risk.

Police have said no injuries were reported.

Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said: "I would like to express my thanks and admiration to those in the community and my colleagues who worked tirelessly to minimise the impacts of this disorder and indeed bring the situation under control.

"I would also appeal to those in the community to use their influence to help us maintain control of the situation so that we do not have a repeat of this behaviour.

"I would, however, like to reassure the community that we will deploy the necessary resources to detect and deter those responsible. Where this is not practicable at the time, we shall seek to gather evidence to bring those responsible before the courts. There will be consequences for those choosing to engage in this type of behaviour. 

"I would finish by saying to those responsible to ask themselves what this type of behaviour actually achieves?   People from right across the city do not want this kind of activity on their doorsteps and I would urge those engaged in violence and criminal damage to desist from such behaviour immediately".    

Unionists have claimed Republicans are deliberately stoking tensions in the area ahead of the Twelfth of July celebrations.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton wrote on social media: "Over 30 petrol bombs thrown last night in Londonderry. The Fountain, Abod Memorial Hall and PSNI officers targeted. Meeting residents and the PSNI this morning. All communities must unite against these sectarian thugs."

A DUP Londonderry statement said: "There are elements within Republicanism deliberately trying to raise tensions on the run up to one of the largest Unionist cultural expressions on Thursday.

"We must all stand against this activity. The PSNI must do all they can to protect the residents of the Fountain.

"Our thoughts are with the people of the Fountain who are the victims of this behaviour."

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Mark H Durkan

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan also condemned the night of violence.

He said: "'For the second week in a row, petrol bombs have been thrown into the Fountain estate. The destruction and death that could have been caused does not bear thinking about.

"These attacks are completely reprehensible and those behind them must be brought to their senses and brought to justice.

"There is never any justification for attacks on people and their homes. It is my opinion that some are merely using sectarianism as an excuse for thuggery - a lot of these young people have no respect for their own community and have people there terrorised too.

Mr Durkan added: "A lot of good work has been done in this interface area over the years but sadly we seem to be moving backwards in many respects. The divisive nature of politics here - where the DUP and Sinn Fein depend so much on division  - is filtering down and festering on our streets.

"This manifests itself in ever-growing displays of flags, bigger bonfires and tensions between communities.

"Now is the time for cool heads and leadership in those communities and for proper political leadership here in the North; bringing people together rather than driving them apart.''

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